Betaal Review: The Bold New Indian Horror Fiction Benchmark

Betaal is the course correction the Indian horror genre wanted. Packed with action and helped on by a deeply emotional track, Betaal is a winner.

By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63894480
By Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63894480

Betaal

4.5

Concept

4.5/5

Screenplay

4.5/5

Performances

4.5/5

Betaal, the Netflix Indian Horror webseries created a buzz since its announcement last year.  Patrick Graham creates a unique horror story that has its roots in Indian history, folklore and contemporary times. Is Betaal worth a watch? Here’s our Betaal review to answer your question.

Betaal Synopsis:

A special team of elite soldiers, CIPD, are on a mission to evaculate a village. The villagers are guarding a tunnel and will not allow the tunnel opening.  CIPD team has the ‘upar se order’ to do what they should and there’s a sleazy, greasy contractor in between. As the CIPD team moves ahead, all hell breaks loose.  They  find out why the villagers don’t want the tunnel to reopen. Now, the villagers and the soldiers have nowhere to hide or go, as an ancient evil enrages all over the area.

Review:

Patrick Graham and Nikhil Mahajan, the creator and director of the series are self-confessed geeks of the nineties. Nikhil, in his interview with IHC, confessed that the Ramsay horror movies introduced him to horror. He has paid a great ode to the brand of horror that he has watched in his childhood.  We always wondered what a Ramsay movie look like if it was made with great technicians and good production values. Well, we finally have a one word answer for it – Betaal.  That’s not a bad thing. It means that Betaal has the same ‘X’ factor that the Ramsays movies had – that factor that gave Veerana 5 crore views on YouTube.

Patrick Graham creates a world that’s inherently Indian and every Indian will connect with every aspect of the series. Growing up, we have heard terms like Naxalites, ancient curses and so so many things with fantastical aspects – and Betaal hits the right spot for the Indian audience.

What Betaal does is create a great mix of an contemporary Indian story and the folklore that India’s are conversant with. For the horror fan, this is the perfect evolution for Horror content in India. Since the late 90s, Indian horror content creators have struggled with creating modern horror tales that will interest a brand new audience with little success. Betaal is a must read success-story for them.

Watch Trailer:

The production values are top-notch and Red Chillies has done a tremendous job of creating the world of Betaal. The series has the right spooky and adrenaline rushing moments for all audiences. The action is quick, messy and successfully creates the urgency of the situation for the audiences watching the Netflix horror webseries.

Directors Patrick and Nikhil don’t look away from the gore that should be a part of any successful horror project. The VFX and the prosthetic department ensure that they don’t have to cheat shoot and hide their work with fog lights and darkeness. Whenever a director is proud of their work, it shows. Whenever a VFX company does a passion project, it shows. Betaal is both of them.

And we have some great performers playing these characters. Vineet Kumar is the soul of the series as Captain Vikram Sirohi and Ahana Kumra is the brains of it as Ahluwalia. Both rise to the occassion and do a great job bringing their characters to the fore. Jitendra Joshi, I think was underused and his performace won’t have as much of an impact as his Katekar did. However, he has one scene that will get a rise out of everyone.

Final Take:

While the show has its roots in the Ramsay trope, its very modern in its execution. After all this while, we have one more Indian horror story that doesn’t have someone showing off a religious artifact for the spirit to disappear. That would be an utterly disappointing climax, given the so many action sequences in the screenplay, right from the beginning.

Instead, you have soldiers do what soldiers do. You have them shoot the enemy, blast the enemy and a particular 90s trope that every action movie fan will wait for, once the foreboding hits the screen. As I said earlier, though the series takes from the Ramsay trope, there’s no religious place or charm available in sight. The protagonists have to make do with what’s available, and that adds to the charm of this series.

What will also keep the audience rooting for the series is the inherent emotional track of all the characters. Betaal, refreshingly, doesn’t have cardboard characters who exist only to be sacrificed to the needs of the script – they are the script

Betaal is the Indian horror webseries that should be a yardstick for anyone else trying their hand at this genre.

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About Roy D'Silva 475 Articles
Roy D'Silva loves nicely made horror films,books and series. He has spent a lifetime covering various entertainment beats and has finally found his calling covering the paranormal/supernatural/horror fiction beat.